OFA provided Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) with comments regarding the proposed Sustainable Agriculture Strategy. OFA generally supports the concept of a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy to bring together existing agricultural policy in a more strategic and cohesive manner, and as a means of investigating and addressing policy gaps to further advance a healthy and sustainable agricultural sector in Canada.
While the discussion document touches on some aspects economic and social sustainability, OFA strongly advises that these need to take a much more prominent role in the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy and that it recognizes the deep interconnectedness between economic and social sustainability and environmental performance. The Strategy’s goals must acknowledge the critical role that farm profitability and competitiveness play in enabling investments in further sustainability.
OFA recommends that AAFC engage producer and commodity organizations when designing and executing communications to the farm community and leverage existing trusted sources of information. Furthermore, participation by farmers in activities related to achieving new sustainability targets must remain voluntary, recognizing the broad range of capacities of farmers to adopt new practices and technologies.
OFA recommends that levels of financial support to farmers must be significantly enhanced, eligibility requirements and funding options must be flexible and broadened to allow the greatest number of farms to apply, early adopters of efficiencies and BMPs must also be eligible for support, and application processes must be streamlined and offered in a timely manner that supports agricultural production.
Previous related OFA submission:
August 31, 2022 – OFA submission to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada regarding fertilizer emissions reduction target